My curvy paintbrush

My Curvy Paintbrush 2

Recently I read an article, Your Body Is Not Your Masterpiece, and my perception of body image was changed. This was a big deal for me, considering I have read article after article about body image. I have written papers on body image and scoured the internet looking for research on the topic. Yet for me, this article gave the perfect metaphor for my body and what its purpose truly is.

Your body is not your masterpiece — your life is.

It is suggested to us a million times a day that our BODIES are PROJECTS. They aren’t. Our lives are. Our spirituality is. Our relationships are. Our work is.

Stop spending all day obsessing, cursing, perfecting your body like it’s all you’ve got to offer the world. Your body is not your art, it’s your paintbrush. Whether your paintbrush is a tall paintbrush or a thin paintbrush or a stocky paintbrush or a scratched up paintbrush is completely irrelevant. What is relevant is that YOU HAVE A PAINTBRUSH which can be used to transfer your insides onto the canvas of your life — where others can see it and be inspired and comforted by it.

oilpaintingdance

So often I spend time worrying about my paintbrush, when I could be painting my dreams, personality, and love for others all over my canvas.

Wow, right? Her metaphor hit me like none other, because it is TRUE. So often I spend time worrying about my paintbrush, when I could be painting my dreams, personality, and love for others all over my canvas. In fact, I could be traveling the world hoping to add my own personal paint color and beauty to other people’s canvas of life.

The thing is, I DO feel that there is something important about our paintbrushes. And that is, that it works. I think it is important that we take enough care of our paintbrushes so they don’t slow us down and don’t hinder us from expressing our beautiful souls.

But, where is the balance in that? We could go on and on about what is the right way to take care of our bodies. I feel I reach the balance when I combine this paintbrush metaphor with one of my “Hall of Fame” addresses. THIS address, by Jeffrey Holland, is perhaps the most encouraging talk I read as a teenager. It was 2005 and I was in the midst of teenage anxiety, worrying about what puberty had done to my hips. I listened to this talk multiple times over the years to re-center and re-focus myself on what mattered most. The entire talk is full of gems, but this excerpt gets across what I feel is often lost in the world’s extremes:

We should all be as fit as we can be… That means eating right and exercising and helping our bodies function at their optimum strength. We could probably all do better in that regard. But I speak here of optimum health; there is no universal optimum size. (emphasis added)

For some reason, the world likes to preach from its social pulpit that there is a universal optimum size. That if you are doing all the rightcanvas things: exercising, eating well, sleeping, drinking water, etc… you will have the slender, toned, masterpiece of a body you are looking for. But that is simply not true. As much as I have tried, my body likes curves. And it is just that way. Others’ bodies are taller or more slender. In the end, it is important to realize that the goal is not a target size or weight, it is health.

So what am I trying to go for now? A healthy paintbrush. My own healthy, curvy paintbrush. A paintbrush that I love, because it helps me spread joy. A paintbrush I clean, because I want people to see my true colors. A paintbrush I care for so that I can skip around the world spreading my unique and beautiful creations.

Carefree calorie counting/ Review of myfitnesspal

Calorie Counting. Typically when I heard this, I thought of a very grueling process that would lend to me thinking far too much about what I was eating. I knew from experience. It was always followed by me being hyper-focused on food, seeing numbers instead of food, and becoming more and more competitive with myself. (I can eat 200 less calories today, right??) After about 48 hours, I would give up,  go eat a brownie, and not record it.

I realized recently though, that calorie counting doesn’t have to be like that. After 1 week straight of calorie counting, I’ve come up with 3 ways to make calorie counting carefree, while maintaining sanity and happiness. 🙂

  1. Stick it out. The first day of calorie counting is more strenuous than the following. As much as I feel like I am eating a wide variety of foods, I tend to eat similar foods day-in and day-out. As a result, after Day 1, counting calories is much more simple! You start to memorize which foods you eat and what they represent.
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Myfitnesspal screen shots from iOS.

  1. Use Myfitnesspal. This my friends, is a great app. I cannot talk it up enough. Among many other wonderful things, it allows you to scan bar codes on food labels, giving you the exact amount of calories, serving sizes, nutrients, etc… It also gives you detailed summaries of the nutrients you are getting (macro and micro), so that in future days you can make more educated food choices. Did I mention that you can track your daily exercise, as well? It does. It seems fairly accurate. But for the most part, I love how easy and simple it is.

  2. Let the app do it’s magic, then forget the rest. With Myfitnesspal, you can program in certain goals (i.e. lose 1 lb./week). It will then calculate how many calories you should eat each day based on your fitness goal. This is my favorite part. If I feel like I would like to lose a little bit of weight, I don’t have to think about it all the time. As long as I stick to my daily calorie goal, I will most likely get into better shape! Also, I don’t have the constant worry that I was accidentally overeating. I know what I am eating, and I can have the peace that I am eating a balanced diet.

Honestly, calorie counting has become an educational journey. I do not know how long I will continue doing it.  But, I think the greatest aspect has been that I know what I am eating, instead of fretting because I may have eaten to much. At least if I know, I can make intelligent decisions in the future. And that is really my goal! I want to enjoy foods, but I also want to have a well-rounded diet that fuels my body with the energy I need to chase my kiddo all day long.

What has been your experience with calorie counting? I would love to hear your tips, advice, or ideas!